On 8 January I warned that reshuffle fever was threatening to get out of control and that David Cameron would be wise to nip it in the bud. If anything, the speculation has got worse and is on the verge of becoming damaging. Tim Montgomerie echoes this point today, and Ben Brogan demonstrates with a curious article about William Hague that any minor move is in danger of being over-interpreted.
However, for really taking the biscuit, I turn to Peter Riddell's column in today's Times. I am being interviewed by Peter later (along with Tim M) for a piece on this Saturday's Week in Westminster on the Tory reshuffle, so I shan't antagnise him too much in advance :), but for him to allege that blogs are doing the damaging speculation is quite astonishing...
The fevered debate about Mr Clarke on the blogosphere reflects a deeper Tory ailment: a neurotic short-termism fuelled by overinterpreting the latest events or polls. I am a fan of the Tory websites, which carry stories not reported elsewhere. But bloggers feed a frenetic mood that militates against long-term thinking. Another result has been a flood of statements and initiatives by party spokesmen.
Quite the reverse. Bloggers have written about the reshuffle AFTER it became a story in the MSM and not before. It is actually lobby journalists who have "fed the frenetic mood". One of them admitted to me that he only writes reshuffle stories because there is "bugger all else" happening on the political front. It is the Westminster lobby which "militates against long-term thinking" not the blogosphere. Westminster journalists mainly care about the here and now. They are interested in filling tomorrow's newspaper. Increasingly, longer term thinking is happening on many blogs (this one excluded!) and that's a good thing. In fact it's an aspect of blogging which few seem to acknowledge. While blogs are excellent avenues for reacting instantaneously to breaking news stories (see my instant take on Glen Roeder's sacking by Norwich HERE!), they are also now being used to throw out new ideas fly kites and gauge reactions.